Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nobunaga's Ambition to Catch 'Em All or Something

So, if you were looking at some more Japan-centric news sites yesterday, (specifically Siliconera) you would've seen as the collective of the internet had their minds blown by a surprise Pokemon announcement that was, get this, an actual surprise.  Mostly because you couldn't make this stuff up, and mostly because even after being told, you don't know what to think.  A partnership you'd never expect (Tecmo-KOEI and The Pokemon Company) throws together two franchises you wouldn't think would mesh (Nobunaga's Ambition, the Wargame/Conquering Game about taking over Sengoku Era Japan as a warlord of your choice and Pokemon) means the game, creatively named Pokemon + Nobunaga's Ambition, is just something out of left field.  So it's definitely surprising, but the question to be asked directly thereafter is:  But will it be good?

That's a hard question to answer right off, but the tentative answer would, of course, be "probably".  There's nothing but a couple minutes of actual footage from the game which, surprisingly, looks nothing like either games involved with the franchise, but more of a turn-based tactics game.  (Nobunaga's Ambition falls -just short- of what is classically known as RTS for battles)  Still, there manages to be a theme from the Pokemon games directly intermingled into Pokemon + NA in that the main character appears to be fine-tuned to be little more than an avatar for the player (as in Pokemon games) and can be either male or female, though both will get an Eevee all the same.  Which is....again, also appropriate given that Eevee is either a blank canvas or the perfect expression of self with evolutions depending on your perspective.  Unless you like Ghost, Dragon, Steel, Flying, Poison, Bug, Rock, Ground or Fighting types, then you're kind of screwed.

I imagine Tecmo-KOEI's main contribution here is the general idea of the Nobunaga's Ambition concept (for all I know, they're pulling from an older game than the -one- we got over here) as well as their imagining of the Sengoku Jidai main players, since there's obviously no copyright or anything of the sort on them and Pokemon could technically make one on their own if they wanted.  However, using KOEI's versions makes it easy as hell to identify just who has what, which I can share.  Obviously, Oda Nobunaga's at the forefront with Zekrom from Black/White, his sister Oichi has Jigglypuff, Toyotomi Hideyoshi has Infernape (I believe), Akechi Mitsuhide has Articuno (Possibly for being an Ice Cold killer), Uesugi Kenshin has Mewtwo for some reason and finally (for now), Takeda Shingen has Groundon from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald.  I'm going to be completely honest here and say that there's little to no reason that I can discern why anybody has who they have (Especially Kenshin and Shingen - being the Dragon and the Tiger respectively, I would have thought they'd get something more thematic) but I'm not really about to argue with it.

Of course, here's the rub here as it's completely impossible to tell whether or not this will release in the west, so there's a very real chance any excitement I could have for this would have to be kept in check.  I mean, it's a pokemon game for the DS, it should come out here, right?  But at the same time, it's a Pokemon game that -isn't- pokemon as well as being a KOEI game, so that throws any reliability or firm standing out the window.  It could be just me, but I think there's a lot of 3DS push out there which has already started to rapidly phase the DS out, probably more than is necessary, so by the time this comes out in Japan and the time you'd have to add for localization, it just might not be feasible at all to release it over here.  Which I think would be a damn shame, since this could honestly be pretty neat.  It'll certainly be bringing new life and ideas to both franchises, that's for sure, and if you ask me, Pokemon is in dire need of a few.


  1. The gameplay video seems to show Mitsuhide (at least I think it's him) with a Lapras, so perhaps they're just elemental themed instead of tied to one particular pokémon.

  2. Having elemental-themed teams would certainly make it seem more Pokemon-y, so I guess that wouldn't be surprised. Yet, I still have to wonder why everyone seems to be represented by -one- pokemon.